When you see a post from someone that makes you think, What were they thinking?, it’s probably because they broke the cardinal rules of social media posting: #KHN or #TMI! Let’s start with #KHN. Before you post ask yourself: is this Kind, Helpful or Necessary? If not, do not post it! I know many of you are thinking, Most of my posts are simply about the days and nights of my life. So how is that Kind, Helpful or Necessary? The main point to remember here is to make sure that what you are posting is not hurting yourself or others.
Posting aspects of your personal life brings me to the second golden rule: Avoid #TMI – Too Much Information! Simply put, TMI is oversharing information that results in people seeing you in a negative light. To make sure your social credibility is in good standing, here are eight things you can do to guard against #TMI and boost your social cred!
1. Create Professional Profiles – Locating your social media presence is easily done by Googling your name. It’s a good idea to Google yourself to see what others see. Whether you are applying for college or a new job, you get one chance to make a first impression. Do your cover photos reflect that you are a personable and responsible individual that they would want to be a part of their business or collegiate community? Also, make sure that you create a profile on LinkedIn if you are applying to college – many Universities are including social media review as a part of the admissions process.
2. Avoid Emotional Posting – When we are happy, sad or angry and start posting, we are more likely to overshare information. Oversharing can cause conflict, because the filters that are in place with face-to-face communication are gone. Without the ability to read how the words we communicate affect others, we may be more candid or cruel than we should be.
3. Bully Free Zone – Anger can be one of the most volatile emotions we experience. Never use your social sites to put down another person. When you do use social to lash out, it projects an image of you not being a person of integrity. So take care not to post negative comments about friends, family, “frenemies” or teachers. And NEVER post a threat to hurt or get revenge on others – even if you mean it as a joke.
4. Get a Camera Cover Up – There have been a number of stories posted about hackers gaining access to your computer’s camera. Make sure that your camera is covered-up, especially in places that you would like to remain private. The most common cover-up is a simple “post it note”.
5. Don’t Share your Location – It is very important to be careful about posting location information on your profiles and check-in locations. There are a number of predators in the world who troll the internet for victims; they can track your movements by what you post. That is not to say you shouldn’t post about your day at a certain location, just do it when you are leaving or the next day! Keep in mind, if you are telling the world you are not at home, ill-intended online lurkers know just that – you’re not at home. And when you’re not at home, it could be seen as a good time for someone to cause mischief or harm.
6. Prevent Plagiarism – There is so much great information on the internet, the temptation to just copy and paste someone else’s work is strong. However, just like a book, when people post information or work online they should be given credit for it. So be sure to give credit where credit is due.
7. Know School Policy – Many schools are now designing social media policy for students. In fact, some public schools require students to provide a list of their social sites as a part of the contact files they maintain for students. Be sure to read your student handbook to make sure that you are compliant.
8. Become an Influencer – Use social sites to engage with organizations that promote positive social change. Better yet, use social media to promote your positive, healthy agenda. So many young people are creating pages to help others who are less fortunate, create charities to help people in other countries or even build a community garden in the inner city. You can create a blog that shares great tips, tools, or techniques for navigating life experiences. Harness social media to help you be the change you want to see in the world!
Always remember that everything you post on social media reflects on you and can impact your safety, future opportunities, personal and professional relationships. The most important thought I would like to leave you with is that social sites are not private! Before you post anything think to yourself, Am I okay with everyone seeing this? If you follow the 8 tips I shared, you can be sure that your social cred will be intact!